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The Anchor Raise

October 20, 2003 03:23 PM

I began using RKC about three months ago. I started by following Pavel's recommendations for high-rep ballistic exercises using dumbbells, liked the results, and immediately ordered a 16 kg kettlebell ? which I found really heavy ? and the RKC book. After a few weeks, I bought the RKC video too, to ensure I was doing the drills correctly.

What I liked about the Russian Kettlebell Challenge, other than the sudden growth in my shoulders and back and the hardening in my thighs and midsection I experienced, was the flexibility of the freestyle program. Anywhere from two to seven times a week. The varying of sessions from 20 to 45 minutes. A range of drills, rather than focusing on a particular exercise.

After two years of following different workout programs, all of which prescribed sessions, sets, reps and exercises with dogmatic rigidity, and pronounced workout-to-workout progression to be almost divine law, I found the flexibility and variety of the RKC approach?well?.liberating.

At the heart of RKC training is an intangible quality sorely lacking in other methodologies. It is, in a word, liberty. What an American way to train. And to think it took a Russian to bring it to us.

I now no longer follow a set regimen. I do snatches, cleans and jerks, windmills, bent and military presses, under leg passes?.but I mix them up a lot. I never train exactly the same way twice in a row. Some weeks I work out three times, some weeks seven. Am I making the fastest progress I possibly can? Who cares? I am making progress, and for the first time in years I'm having fun.

Part of the enjoyment, for me, is trying new things. RKC implicitly encourages innovation. It gives you the freedom to experiment. That's how I discovered the Anchor Raise.

This particular drill may already exist under another name. I don't know, but I've never seen it done. It's sort of like a quick, mini-deadlift. I call it the Anchor Raise because that's what you look like you're doing ? pulling up on a line to raise an anchor. Any boat person reading this will know what I mean. Here's how to do it.

Stand over your KB in the standard snatch start position, feet spread fairly wide. Keeping your weight on your heels and back straight and close to upright, squat down and grasp the KB with one hand. Rise quickly and at the same time lift the KB with a shortened rowing motion. Before your legs are completely straight let go of the KB with the one hand, catch it with the other, and let gravity pull it back down to just above the floor. Then repeat the lift with the other hand.

Lift, let go with one hand, catch and go down with the other, lift again. Repeat. Get a quick rhythm going. Fight the urge to fall forward and keep your weight on your heels. And your back straight. After 20 to 50 reps, stop and rest. You will probably need to. The Anchor Raise works all the muscles the deadlift does ? legs, hips, glutes, back ? plus a few more because of the pulling motion with the arms. It will absolutely kill your quads.

Don't do the Anchor Raise if you have an aversion to hard work (or are subject to sea-sickness). I find that two to four sets of 50 work my legs as well as anything, plus provide some upper-body work as well.

The Anchor Raise can add some nice variety to your pulling drills. Plus, it's fun to do. And yes, in addition to enjoying myself, I'm making more progress with RKC than with any other program I've tried. After three months, my 16 kg is too light, and I've moved up to a 24 kg KB on all my drills.